Sexual health experts say the increase of multidrug resistance in gonorrhea raises the very real possibility that strains of Neisseria gonorrhoeae resistant to all current treatment options could emerge in the near future.
Professor Catherine Ison told attendees at a Society for General Microbiology conference that some strains of the gonococcal bacteria that cause the disease are now showing decreased sensitivity to the current antibiotics used to treat them – ceftriaxone and cefixime.
Ison, from the Health Protection Agency in London, explained that choosing an effective antibiotic is challenging because the organism that causes gonorrhea is extremely versatile and develops resistance to antibiotics very quickly. “Penicillin was used for many years until it was no longer effective and a number of other agents have been used since. The current drugs of choice, ceftriaxone and cefixime, are still very effective but there are signs that resistance particularly to cefixime is emerging and soon these drugs may not be a good choice,” she said.